New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during a press conference the day after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation on August 11, 2021 at the New York State Capitol in Albany, New York.
Cindy Schultz | Reuters
The New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul plans to host a personal fundraiser in her hometown of Buffalo next week as she prepares to run for governor in 2022, according to people familiar with the matter.
Hochul will lead the event on Wednesday, days before it takes over Andrew Cuomo, who on Tuesday announced his resignation over countless sexual harassment allegations that got him in hot water with state lawmakers and prosecutors. He said his resignation would take effect in two weeks.
Top tickets are expected to cost between $ 2,500 and $ 5,000, these people said. There will likely be a separate base donation event on that day as well, one of the people said.
The Hochul fundraising campaign will also celebrate its birthday, said these people. Hochul holds a fundraiser for her birthday every year, added one of the people.
These people declined to be named in order to speak freely about an event that does not appear to be on Hochul's public calendar.
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This event has higher stakes than previous fundraisers. It could help set the tone for Hochul's 2022 governorship campaign, in which she could face stiff competition from several prominent Democrats.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and State Senator Alessandra Biaggi have not ruled out running for the governor's villa. Attorney General Letitia James, whose report on Cuomo allegations of sexual harassment led to the governor's resignation, is believed to be a potential lead candidate for the job.
Hochul becomes the state's first female governor.
One of the people said that the fundraiser was originally supposed to take place on Hochul's property in Buffalo next week, but that it had to be relocated due to increased interest in it. The fundraiser could also be postponed to another date after it settles into the job of governor.
Although the event was launched before Cuomo's resignation and the appointment of Hochul as the state's next head of government, the money raised at the event will end up in their gubernatorial campaign account. State records show that Hochul's campaign to re-elect the lieutenant governor raised just over $ 525,000 in the first half of the year and just over $ 1.7 million is available.
Hochul told NBC's "TODAY" that she is moving forward with her candidacy for governor next year.
"I fully expect that. I have prepared myself for it," said Hochul when asked if she would run.
Those expected to join the fundraiser next week are many of Hochul's most loyal supporters, these people said.
“These are people who have been with her since the city council. They have long been her supporters and friends, "one person with direct knowledge of the congregation told CNBC.
Hochul received calls from donors shortly after James released the report that Cuomo sexually molested 11 women. Cuomo has denied wrongdoing. Some of the donors who spoke to Hochul at the time to encourage her to run for governor had previously supported Cuomo.
Many of Cuomo's other top financiers are starting to privately acknowledge that they will support Hochul in 2022, said a person familiar with the talks.
A Hochul spokesman did not respond to repeated requests for comment.